STYLE: Hip-Hop RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 23441-25645 LABEL: Capitol 7985722 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Gavin Drake
With a few million sales clocked up already, Cross Rhythms demonstrates its eccentric 'we review everything' policy by finally getting EMI to part with a review copy so we can add our two penn'orth to a press cutting file thick enough to deforest a small African country. What are we Christian music enthusiasts to make of the enigma that is Hammer? On the stylistic front he's still a brilliant populariser (if not the innovator his publicists insist), taking rap out of the ghetto and into a million homes. His raps are dextrous, while the soulful hooks he tags on mean there are songs as well as slamming rhythm tracks. His touch is uncanny. From the hilarious monster hit of "Addams Groove" through to that wonderful rap-up of gospel's evergreen "Do Not Pass Me By" (remember a decade back when the Inspirational Choir almost hit with it on Stiff?), there's track after track of hotter-than-hot dance music. Also, the Hammer's choice of guest vocalists is faultless introducing hot newcomers like Benito and Tina Johnson while giving gospel giant Tramaine Hawkins a taste of the British charts (shame they couldn't spell her name right on the sleeve). But what about Hammer's spirituality? Is he living the Christian life? Is he a backslider, a spiritual fraud or a believer misunderstood by a church unused to megastars? We'll have to pass on that until Cross Rhythms gets a Hammer interview. (Listening, EMI?) In the meantime, groove on.
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